Purpose of Technology

Full-field digital mammography (FFDM) is gradually replacing conventional screen-film mammography (SFM), which had been the predominant technique for breast cancer screening of asymptomatic women. With digital mammography, images of the breast are acquired, displayed, transferred, and stored as digital data for viewing on a computer monitor (soft-copy reading) or for printing and viewing with a light box (hard-copy reading). In contrast to SFM, FFDM simplifies image interpretation because image acquisition, image processing, image review, and data storage are independently executed. FFDM enables radiologists to manipulate the magnification, contrast, and brightness of mammographic data, with the goal of improving ability to distinguish between normal and malignant tissue.

Relevant Questions

  • Compared with SFM, does FFDM lower recall rates and/or increase detection rates for breast cancer screening of asymptomatic women?

  • Compared with SFM, is FFDM more accurate for detecting breast cancer?

  • Are there safety issues associated with FFDM?

  • For which patients might FFDM provide a benefit in a screening setting?

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